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The Monday Roundup

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 30th, 2010 at 10:32 am

The First Family on a bike ride!

Welcome back to Monday everyone. Here are the news items and other interesting tidbits that caught our eye last week...

- President Obama and his family enjoyed a bike ride on their recent trip to Martha's Vineyard. This news video (below) of the Obama bike path sighting is priceless (note the part where the witness says a secret service car followed them on the path... that's not allowed!):

- My how far the Dutch bike invasion has come in the last few years. The Wall St. Journal takes a look at another posh, Euro-centric bike shop in New York City.

- If this article in the Herald Extra is any indication, bike jousting seems to be catching on in Provo, Utah. The best part is that the folks putting on the joust, BikeProvo.org, say they're doing it "To pull bicyclists together" and build the voice of bicycling in the community.

- There's another massive traffic jam in China. Thankfully (this time) there's a voice of reason among the madness. A Chinese urban planner is using the disaster to pressure authorities to build up the subway system, light rail, and bus service.

- In Copenhagen, the number of motor vehicle parking spaces is decreasing and those that remain are more expensive. While some cry foul, the City is standing strong on their policy "to pressure people to use a bicycle or public transport instead of the car."

- This 2008 photo taken by UK bike journalist Carlton Reid is getting a lot of attention. Peter Drew of Adelaide, Australia is the artist who so eloquently calls out the difference between bikes and cars.

- The Pentagon is building a flying car? Seriously?! Seems our government will do just about anything (Cash for Clunkers, financial bailout, etc., etc., etc...) to make sure the automobile industry flourishes well into the future.

- Here's a headline from Vancouver BC that will sound all too familiar: "Proposed Vancouver bike lane will have catastrophic effects, businesses say."

- Up in Seattle, an editorial columnist for the Times says now is just not the time for a City plan to raise taxes to pay for projects that will improve transportation safety. Too bad her argument loses credibility for its stereotypes and other glaringly anti-bike assertions.

- Despite decades of PSAs and MADD advocacy, drunk driving is still out of control in America. In recent months we've had several high-profile examples here in Portland (Oregonian Editorial Page Editor Bob Caldwell, owner of Mt. Hood Ski Bowl Kirk Hanna, City Council candidate Mary Volm), and now the NHTSA has released results of a drunk driving study showing that an estimated 17 million people admitted to driving drunk in the last 12 months.

-- Come across an interesting bit of bike news? Tag it "bikeportland" on Delicious, let us know via Twitter, or just send the link via email and we'll include it in next week's Roundup.

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Comments
  • Erinne August 30, 2010 at 11:26 am

    While I appreciate some of the sentiment behind the photo (by Carlton Reid), I don't appreciate the sizeist/anti-fat sentiment in bicycling that it demonstrates. We should be encouraging people of ALL sizes to get on their bikes, and realizing that not everyone who bicycles is going to be a particular size.

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  • NewRiderInPDX August 30, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I completely agree with the photo. 100%. I don't think "embracing" people of larger sizes is the way to go. It means you're unhealthy. However, encouraging those people that are overweight to get on a bicycle to help them become healthier and more fit is a much better way to go.

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  • A.K. August 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    America currently has a size problem. I don't think there should be an issue in pointing it out. Our "sitting all day and driving everywhere" lifestyle is slowly killing us, literally.

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  • Stig August 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    TriMet fires bus driver who hit, killed two pedestrians in April crash

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/08/trimet_fires_bus_driver_who_hi.html

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  • Erinne August 30, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    #2 and #3, NOT everyone who cycles is going to be average sized to thin. They're not. There are too many other factors that go into body size--diet, heredity, etc. They will be healthier than if they "sit all day and drive everywhere," and they're less likely to be overweight. I still think that being sizeist is not going to encourage many overweight folks to get on bicycles. It's just going to make the community seem exclusive and overly concerned with appearances.

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  • NewRiderInPDX August 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    It's not about their physical appearance. By any means. It's about BMI, your body fat percentage, nutrition, etc. I understand that some people are born "bigger" or "thicker" and if you're healthy...then great! I just don't condone advertisements and/or shows that "embrace" obesity and that it's "okay" to be that way. Life is precious...and it shouldn't be cut short because of bad choices.

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  • adam August 30, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    how is making a clever statement being "sizeist"? from what I can tell, no one is being discriminated against.

    besides, it takes too much paint to ensure that you don't offend anyone...how about: "bikes help you exercise and thus maintain a weight closer to a weight which will increase your overall health but we are not judging you and you should love yourself for who you are." that would not fit in a bike lane(maybe a cycletrack).

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  • trail abuser August 30, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Ads with fat or ugly people don't do well. People make choices on emotion and aspire to be like the pretty models in ads. Studies have shown that fat and ugly people depress potential buyers and drive down sales.

    I didn't read the article but am fat and ugly, so know exactly what I'm talking about. I know I can work out and not be fat and ugly, but I'm not shallow like most cyclists, who are mostly vain. Unless they're the poor ones. And who likes poor people! They're scum.

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  • A.K. August 30, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Erinne:

    I don't understand the issue with the stencil. It says bicycles burn fat, which I take as a reference to the fact that bicycles are human powered rather than gas powered, and they run on human energy. It's not saying "hey fatty, next time why don't you ride your bike instead of driving".

    I don't think the stencil is trying to be derogatory towards people with weight problems... but that's just me. I see it as more of a use of clever wording to show what our car culture is doing to us, which apparently you agree with. While a car itself won't make you fat, it certainly doesn't help.

    Lastly, it's a piece of street art. If anyone's life is significantly affected by it because they took it so seriously as to be offended, I'm not sure what to think about that.

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  • Spiffy August 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    it could be said that "this one runs on fat" is pro-fat since that bike can't go anywhere without the fat needed to power it... it's inviting fat people to bike...

    as summer comes to an end I'm starting to run out of fuel to power my bike... maybe I'll be able to store some up over winter to power me through those coming dry days... but I won't be storing it while in a car...

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  • q`Tzal August 30, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Flying cars:
    As stupid as this idea is $40 million dollars is not much in the scheme of what come DARPA's way and it may be barely enough to make a single functional prototype that is also commercially viable.
    Several companies have had flying cars for years but the problems are two fold: they are too expensive for the general population and they require a pilot's license.

    Any commercially viable flying car has to be automated to the point where the occupants are not legally responsible when the inevitable crash occurs.

    $40 million let alone $400 million dollars of R&D will not be enough to make this work.

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  • q`Tzal August 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Sizeist:

    You want to encourage more non-thin people to cycle on a regular basis: try getting sports apparel makers to make items in larger sizes.
    Surely you can cycle around in your normal street clothes at slow speeds in the best of weather but if you are trying to get where you are going fast, or heaven forbid - lose weight, denims and other cotton clothing cause moisture buildup, overheating and lots of nasty chafing. I'm absolutely not proposing spandex for all but something comfortable would be nice.
    If a 2XL or larger person wants to spandex up in some racing outfit - go to it; he's no more the poser than the size small guy with the yellow jersey who drives his SUV 1/4 mile down the road to the coffee shop.

    I guess, according to the cycling apparel world, no one over size "L" bicycles.

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  • Erinne August 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    adam #7 & AK #9, it may be clever, but it's indicative of an attitude that is pervasive through much of the cycling community, and indeed the rest of US society. That's what oppression is--not individual acts, but institutionalized attitudes that target a group based on a shared characteristic(s). And sizeism is one of the oppressions that is still widely acceptable. And I do think this is sizeist, and it's made me feel bad in the pit of my stomach every time I've looked it.

    And I'm done.

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  • Anonymous August 31, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Therein lies the problem with being overweight. You look bad and you feel bad, which leads to a downward spiral which is difficult to get out of once the pounds start adding on. So pedal it out. The picture in question make you feel bad? It is a true statement. Pedal it out. Pedal it out and you'll feel better. And look better.
    I *like* seeing overweight people on bikes, 'cause I know they are on the way to feeling better within themselves and about themselves.
    Pedal it out. Pedal it out. Pedal it out.

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